Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog: Intell agencies on Iraq [updated]
ARTICLE: Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight, By Karen DeYoung, September 24, 2006; Page A01
This analysis is typical intell stuff: obvious, useless, and playing into a do-nothing mind-set that here says, “Do nothing to piss off the terrorists!”
Duh! When we engage the security situation–any security situation–in the Middle East, we piss off (and create more) terrorists. We do it when we’re pro-active, like in Iraq. We do it when we’re passive, like our military support to Israel. And we do it when we’re behind the scenes, like our intell co-op with regimes throughout the region.
So it’s never been a question of whether or not we piss off terrorists (who live to be pissed off, and when there’s not enough going on, they’ll get jacked over a film (e.g., Van Gogh), a book (Rushdie), a speech (Benedict)–whatever).
We can either engage the region militarily to deal with its security deficits that hold off economic connectivity and keep this overwhelmingly young population from engaging the future (globalization) or we can sit back, try to firewall America (something the spooks are always up for) and wait for the next explosion–or 9/11.
We have this tendency to define all attacks that come our way as terrorism, but to define away all the rest (meaning not directed at us) as somerthing else (radicalism, fundamentalism, insurgency, rebels–whatever). Terrorism doesn’t start nor end with our involvement. What the intell community is ultimately guilty of in this kind of blame-the-messenger mindset (and yes, we are seen the world over as the harbinger of all things globalization) is confusing friction with force, assuming that you can somehow reduce force by avoiding friction, when guess what? We’re not in control of the force (globalization), we’re just walking behind that elephant, sweeping up its leavings.